The first large-scale animal farm factories appeared in the early 1970s,1 designed for egg-laying hens. However, it wasn’t long before beef and pork producers followed suit with the aim to reduce overhead and increase profits, which also reduced the quality of the meat produced.
Today, most meat sold in the U.S. is raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In a corporate-controlled environment characterized by large-scale, centralized production, companies — not farmers — have identified means of production, processing and distribution that produce more meat for less money.
The repercussions associated with these farms have included a rise in antibiotic-resistant disease claiming the lives of nearly 23,000 Americans each year,2 and a significant impact on local water supply from waste water runoff from these farms.3,4 Both of these concerns are driving significant global issues with water quality and antibiotic-resistant bacterial disease.
Although these farms have created monstrous environmental problems, the companies that run them are not only violating the environment, they are also plundering the American farmer, driving the farmer deeper into debt as the corporation enjoys growing profits.